John Jay Papers
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To John Jay from Robert R. Livingston, 30 July 1784

From Robert R. Livingston

Cler Mount 30th: July 1784.

Permit me my dear friend to congratulate you on your return to your native shore, & to the friendly embraces of those who love you in every situation, in which you have been, or can be placed. My impatience to see you led me to New York about three weeks since, where from the time you had set for sailing I thought it probable that you must have arrived before this An unfortunate accident which has happened to my eldest daughter1 who a few days ago broke her arm obliges me to send you these cold expressions of my friendship, rather than comply with my wishes in offering them and receiving yours in person— Having as I hope concluded my political carreer I have no other wish left, but that of spending the remainder of my life with those who have contributed so much to the happiness of its gayest period. Whether you entertain the same moderate wishes. Whether you content yourself with the politics of this State, or whether you will engage in the great field that Congress have again opened to you, I shall still have the consolation to reflect that seas do not roll between us, that I may some times see you, & frequently hear from you— If you are not yet cured of your ambition you have everything to hope for both in the State, & continental line, I need not tell you that I only wish to know your objects that I may concur in them— May I not hope to see you here with Mrs. Jay since this accident prevents my meeting you at New York? & I shall be further detained by preparations for a trial with Mr. Hoffman that comes on in October,2 in which as I have every reason to be satisfied of the justice of my claim I wish it had been possible to have recd your advice & assistance. present my affectionate remembrances with Mrs. Livingstons3 to Mrs. Jay, excuse a letter hastily written by a passing Sloop & believe ^me^ Dr John most sincerely & warmly your Friend

R R Livingston

ALS, NNC (EJ: 6872). Endorsed: “ . . . Recd 17 August / ansd. 18”.

1Elizabeth Stevens Livingston.

2The lawsuit involved the revival of claims pressed unsuccessfully some forty years earlier by the owner of the Clermont lands, RRL’s grandfather Robert Livingston, and then by his father, Robert Robert Livingston. In 1774 RRL’s grandfather touched off a lawsuit by building a gristmill on lands claimed by Martin Hoffman. Hoffman was victorious in two suits in ejectment. The dispute lay dormant for many years, during which Zachariah Hoffman had inherited the mills and other lands in dispute and RRL had inherited Clermont from his father, in 1775. Once the war was over the tenacious RRL decided to test Zachariah Hoffman’s title by bringing an action of ejectment. The litigation is treated in detail Hamilton Law Practice description begins Julius Goebel Jr. and Joseph H. Smith, eds., The Law Practice of Alexander Hamilton (5 vols.; New York, 1964–81) description ends , 3: 55–101; Dangerfield, Robert R. Livingston, 51, 103–6; and Minutes, N.Y. Supreme Court of Judicature, 1781–83, p. 498, Hall of Records, New York City. See also RRL to JJ, 25 Jan., above, and 26 Aug., below; and JJ to RRL, 18 Aug. 1784, below.

3Mary Stevens Livingston, RRL’s wife.

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